Credit Cards for Fair Credit: Top Instant Approval, High Limit Offers

Michelle Brooks

Michelle Brooks

Financial Advisor

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The time has come that you are planning to apply for a brand-new car, home, or loan and the lender mentions that they need to pull your credit report. While you are fairly new to credit, you are confident that your credit report will come back healthy and strong. To your surprise, the lender comes back and says, “You have fair credit – we cannot approve you for this type of credit.”

This is a story that happens to thousands, if not millions, of credit holders around the country and world. Now, if you have heard these words before, this is not meant to discourage you. Having fair credit is not bad – and should serve as motivation to continually improve your credit score. Now, having a fair credit can potential prevent you from opening specific type of credit cards; however, there is specific credit cards created by credit card companies for individuals with fair credit.

In this article, we are going to explore what fair credit actually means, the avenues and reasoning behind why you have fair credit, and the opportunities that are ahead, including fair credit cards and numerous different ways to improve your credit score. You see, there are always opportunities if you are open to seeing them!

Topics Covered

Best Credit Cards for Fair Credit: Overview

Credit Card Ideal For
Our Top Pick for 2019

Capital One® Quicksilver® One Cash Rewards Credit Card

Cash Back with Fair Credit
ABOC Platinum Rewards Credit Card
Balance Transfer and Other Rewards

Capital One® Quicksilver® One Cash Rewards Credit Card

Editor’s Rating

Credit Score Required:

Average, Fair, Limited

Our Review

Get the most out of your credit card with a Capital One® Quicksilver® One Cash Rewards Credit Card. This card gives you unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. There’s no categories or tiers to track. You can also gain access to a better credit line when you make your first five monthly payments on time.

What We Like

Good Credit Line Increase after 5 On-Time Payments

No foreign transaction fees

Simple Cash Back System – no categories to worry about

ABOC Platinum Rewards Credit Card

Editor’s Rating

Credit Score Required:

Average, Fair, Limited

Our Review

The ABOC is a great credit card for people with fair credit because of the wonderful features that come with this card. One of our favorites is a 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases. You’ll also get $150 in statement credit after you spend $1,200 on purchases within the first 90 of opening the account.

What We Like

Statement Credit Cash Back Rewards

No Annual Fee

Intro APR Period on Purchases and Balance Transfers

What is Fair Credit?

In the credit industry, there are hundreds of different terms and concepts that are used, which, often times, the majority of credit holders have no idea what they mean. So, when people are told they have fair credit, they have no idea what this truly means. In order to begin understanding more about fair credit cards and how to improve your credit score, you need to understand the basics of fair credit. This is known as the mid-range of credit scoring models. In other words, if you are looking at a typical FICO or VantageScore model, we are talking about 580-669 or 641-700 respectively.

In light of this, fair credit is also a terminology that can denote characteristics of an individual. If you didn’t know, your credit score speaks worlds about your personality, spending habits, and financial responsibility. Individuals with fair credit tend to be considered medium-to-high risk to lenders. Typically, these individuals have either little-to-no credit history or they are irresponsible when it comes to handling credit and debt. More likely than not, people in the fair credit bracket might have missed a payment or a few delinquencies. All of this information and much more is available to lenders, simply based off your credit score.

Credit Cards for Fair Credit

Understanding Why Is Your Credit Score Fair

Admitting your current financial situation can feel extremely difficult; however, it can be one of the most liberating things you will ever do. In doing this, you can begin to draw conclusions as to why your credit score is considered fair and begin developing a game plan to make a difference. In order to begin understanding why your credit score is fair, you must receive access to a detailed credit score report, or your free annual credit report from one of the three credit bureaus. From there, you can begin to dissect what is happening with your credit score. In doing so, there are a few things you want to look out for:

  1. Negative Marks On Credit Report – Have you ever missed a payment or defaulted on a loan? This information will appear as a negative mark on your credit report and a significant reason why your credit score is fair.
  2. Credit Utilization – This is how much credit you have used in comparison to how much credit has been lent. Typically, people with average credit have poor credit utilization, portraying utilizing or maxing all credit available. This is common for people who quickly open credit cards and spend all of the money or for people that opened too many lines of credit or loans.
  3. Inquiries – If you receive access to your credit report, always look at your reported inquiries. These are only allowed to be present for up to 2 years. Later in this article, we are going to discuss the importance of inquiries. Depending on the type, they may hurt your credit score, and could be another leading factor why you have fair credit.

In most cases, people are aware of why they have fair credit. Again, the best thing you can do is admit your faults to begin moving forward. Rather than be discourage, there are credit cards specifically designed for individuals with fair credit.

 

Pros and Cons of Fair Credit Cards

PROS

  • Typically, no annual fees.
  • Average-to-Good rewards, such as cash back.
  • Achievable even with bankruptcy

CONS

  • Higher charges and fees.
  • You might find higher variable interest rates and APRs with fair credit cards.

What to Look for in Fair Credit Cards

If you are thinking about opening up a fair credit card, there are a few things that you must take into consideration. In this section, we are going to discuss a few of these points and propose a few tips along the way.

 

Look Out For

  • Variable Interest Rates – One of the first things that you should look out for when considering opening a new credit card for fair credit is variable interest rates. Typically, these credit cards come with higher-than-average rates.
  • Fees and Charges – Since fair credit users are seen as riskier in the eyes of creditors, you can anticipate higher fees and charges. Try to find a credit company that offers reasonable fees.
  • Rewards and Benefits – It’s without question that you need to consider the rewards and benefits of credit cards for fair credit.
  • Fine Print – Always take the time to read the fine print of a credit card’s contract. This is where you can spot inconsistencies or higher-than-normal charges or rates.

Tips to Increase Your Credit Score

1. Credit Report

One way that credit holders can begin to increase their credit score starts with their credit report. Your credit report is the reasoning behind why your credit score is the way it is. So, by taking the time to inspect your annual free credit report, you can learn precisely what’s happening. From there, we highly suggest taking the time to analyze every line of the entire report to ensure all marks, negative marks, and inquiries are true. If you are noticing any minor inconsistencies with your credit report, it’s advised to dispute them with the respected credit bureau. By doing this, you not only help clean up your credit report, you also act towards improving your credit score.

2. Automatic Bill Pay

Thousands of people around the United States lose points on their credit score due to the lack of financial responsibility and paying their bills on time. If you have ever been late on a payment, you understand how detrimental this can be on your finances and your credit score. One tip to increasing your credit score is by setting up automatic bill payments. This is arguably one of the best ways to avoid ever being late. This not only ensures that you won’t forget, it will also motivate and encourage to ensure you budget finances correctly. At the same time, you may show this to lenders and creditors in the future and they will take into consideration your dedication to improving your credit score.

3. Credit Utilization Plan

Another quick and easy tip to increasing your credit score begins with your credit utilization. If you have a credit limit (in total) of $10,000 and you have used $8,000 – your credit utilization would be a grade F. What you need to do is create a credit utilization game plan to minimize your utilization to around 30%-50%. In this case, you want to aim to use between $3,000-$5,000. This is known as the Credit Utilization Sweet Spot. This tip requires a bit of budgeting and financial confidence; however, if you are determined to achieve a higher credit score, you can make it happen. Start by minimizing the amount of times you use a credit card. From there, increase your typical payments – and pay more than once. Creditors will quickly note the difference in your utilization and this will significantly improve your credit score.

4. Knowing Creditors

Knowing your creditors is a vital aspect of your credit score – and this is why. If your creditor report your balance to the bureau before your monthly payment, the higher balance is what the bureau is going to see – in other words, your credit report. If this is the situation, you can guarantee your credit score will reflect this negatively. So, before you are quick to throw a credit tantrum, there is a small solution to this. If you are aware of when your creditors report to the bureau, take the initiative to pay your balance earlier than anticipate This way, when they report to any of the credit bureaus, they report your new balance, with payment included. If you are unsure of when a creditor reports, simply call! This is an honest question and they will provide the information.

5. Credit Over Time

If we can offer any other great tip to improve your credit score, we would advise you to add credit over time. Don’t try to purchase a car, a home, open two credit cards, and purchase an equipment loan all at the same time. Whether that’s feasible or not – the truth is, building credit takes time and you must show financial responsibility to lenders and creditors. If you are the type of person that applies for a ton of credit cards or loans, your credit report will reflect this as hard inquiries and you will be seen as risky. It’s important to take your time and pace out when you plan to apply for a new line of credit, or extend one. What you’ll need to achieve this is patience and this involves resisting the urge to apply for a new credit card or a loan.

6. Spreading Credit

A great tactic that thousands of credit holders have used to improve their credit score is through spreading the type of credit you have. If you think only one credit card is a smart choice – this typically is not financially sound. Reason being, with one card, there is a significant chance and risk of having a higher balance, higher utilization, and higher than the desired sweet spot. It’s advised by many financial gurus to carry a select few credit cards with smaller limits and balances to not only show financial responsibility for multiple cards – but to also balance your credit and utilization. If you are worried about keeping track of a few credit cards, setting up automatic payments, as discussed early, can work wonders!

7. Like Debit Like Credit

If you currently have low-to-fair credit, you are most likely looking to do anything to improve your credit score. This tip is one that can help; however, it must be done with caution. One way to improve your credit score is to use your credit card like a debit card. Many financial gurus will shun at the idea of this; however, if you can be financially smart, plan accordingly, and pay your balances, creditors will be impressed at how much you are using your credit card, paying off balances, and staying on top of it all.

Verdict

At the end of the day, if you are looking for new ways to increase your credit score and are in the fair credit range, credit cards for fair credit are a great option to help. Now, it’s important to always do proper research and compare different credit card companies with their rates, fees, benefit, and other applicable information. On top of this, it’s imperative at this stage in the credit industry – never, ever miss a credit card payment. In fact, the safest bet is to pay your bills and balances as early as possible. In doing so, creditors will begin to note the change in your credit report and your credit number will shortly follow.

FAQ

General Fair Credit Card Questions

We’ll cover general questions about fair credit scores and credit cards in this section.

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What is fair credit?

Fair credit is just what it sounds like – it’s not good or bad, it’s just so-so. You’ve got a lot of room to improve, but your score could still go down.

What is considered bad credit?

Bad credit is generally considered to be any credit score lower than 620. At this score range lenders are hesitant to loan you money or give you credit and will charge high interest rates if you do get approved.

Is a fair credit score good?

A fair credit score is ok. You’re not bad and can still get credit and loan offers, but you won’t be eligible for the best offers and will pay more in interest on financial products.

What is the range for fair credit?

Most experts consider a credit score that falls into the range of 620 to 669 to be a fair credit score.

Credit Cards for Fair Credit

This section answers your questions about the different credit card options for people with fair credit.

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What is the easiest credit card to get with fair credit?

The Credit One Bank Platinum Visa has an averaged approved credit score of 575, making it fairly easy to get for most consumers. The Indigo Platinum Mastercard is also a good option, with an average approved score of 582.

Which credit card is best to build credit?

All credit cards will build credit at the same rate. The best credit card to build credit is the one that lets you pay your balance off every month so you can get a good payment history and low credit utilization. Take a look at the best credit cards to help rebuild credit.

What credit card will approve me with fair credit?

Some of the best options for people with fair credit include the Capital One Platinum card, with an average approved score of 609, The Chase Freedom card, with an average approved score of 683, and the Credit One Bank Platinum Visa, with an average approved score of 575. Take a look at some instant approval credit card offers.

What credit cards are easy to get with fair credit?

The Milestone Gold Mastercard is pretty easy to get with fair credit – the average approved credit score for the card is 581. You can also try for the Capital One Quicksilver One Cash Rewards Card, with an average approved credit score of 609. If this question is for a lower business credit score or your business is new then check out business credit cards for startups.

How to get an American Express card with fair credit?

The best option for an American Express card with fair credit is the American Express Cash Magnet card. This card from AMEX is easier to obtain than most of their other products. Compare credit cards before you decide to sign up though.

What is the best credit card for fair credit?

We really like the Capital One Quicksilver One Cash Back Rewards card. It offers 1.5% cash back and has an average approved score of 609. Also consider a no international fee credit card if you travel much.

Can I get a Discover card with fair credit?

Your best option for a Discover card with fair credit is a secured Discover card. You can use this card to build your credit score and get a better card later. When your score gets better then you can more likely qualify for the best cash bonus credit cards.

How to get a credit card with fair credit?

The best way to get a credit card with fair credit is to shop based on average approved credit scores. For example, the Capital One Quicksilver One card has an average approved credit score of 609, making it a good option for many people with fair credit. Anything lower then you may want to apply for credit cards with poor credit.

What credit card to apply for with fair credit?

Many of the cards offered by Capital One are good choices for people with fair credit. The Quicksilver One has an average approved score of 609, as does the Capital One Platinum card. See here to apply for credit card with bad credit.

What credit card to get with fair credit?

That depends what you’re looking for. The Capital One Platinum card is a good option if you want no annual fee, while the Credit One Bank Platinum Visa has cash back rewards and a slightly lower APR. Getting a 5 cash back credit card may prove to be a challenging but not impossible.

Does Chase have a credit card for fair credit?

The best Chase card for fair credit is the Chase Slate card. This card is intended as a balance transfer card for people to improve their credit to qualify for other Chase products.

What is a fair credit card APR?

The APR for a credit card for someone with fair credit generally falls into the range of 19.99% to 26.99%, depending on the rewards and annual fee structure. Once your credit gets better you can take a look at no interest credit card offers.

Can you get a balance transfer card with fair credit?

Usually. It depends on lots of other factors, like your debt to income ratio, current income, mix of credit accounts, and payment history. Credit card companies look at many things besides credit scores to make approval decisions.  Take a look at the best credit card for balance transfer no fee required

What are good credit cards for fair credit?

The Credit One Platinum Visa has cash back rewards and an average approved score of 575, making it an excellent option for people with fair credit. You can also try the Capital One Quicksilver One, which has an average approved score of 609.  You can also apply for credit card with bad credit depending on the card.

What is the best credit card for fair credit?

The best credit card for fair credit depends on what you want from a card. If you want cash back, then the Capital One Quicksilver One or the Credit One Platinum card are good options, while the Capital One Platinum card is a good choice if you don’t want an annual fee. Learn how to apply for a credit card for the first time.

How to apply for a credit card with fair credit?

The first thing you need to do is determine which credit cards you have the best chance to get approved for. Try comparison shopping based on average approved credit score for the card. This will give you a series of credit cards you can compare so you know which to apply for. If you’re in college then start an application for student credit card offers.

What credit card is good for fair credit?

The Milestone Gold Mastercard is a good option for people with fair credit. You can get a pre-qualification without impacting your credit score and it has an average approved score of 581.

Questions About Specific Credit Scores

We’ll answer questions about credit cards and specific credit scores in this section.

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Can I get a credit card with a 660-credit score?

Almost certainly. You’re at the fair to good range for credit scores. That means you’ll qualify for credit cards, but won’t get the best deals on interest rates or terms.

Can you get a credit card with a 550-credit score?

Probably not an unsecured credit card. Your best bet is to get a secured credit card and start to use it to rebuild your credit history. The unsecured cards you can get include the Capital One Quicksilver One card, which had a typical low approved score of 532. You may also want to look at store credit cards for bad credit.

Can I get a credit card with a 540-credit score?

It’s very unlikely you’ll qualify for a credit card with a 540 credit score. A secured credit card is your best option to start improving your credit score. Look into no credit check credit cards.

Is 600 a bad credit score?

It’s on the verge of bad. You should start taking steps to improve your credit score so you can get better deals on loans and lines of credit.  Also take a look at the best secured credit card for bad credit.

Is a 650-credit score good?

It’s a fair credit score. You’ll be able to qualify for loans and lines of credit, but you’ll pay a higher interest rate and won’t have access to the best offers.

Is 670 a good credit score?

670 is at the bottom end of what most creditors consider a good score or the top end of what they consider to be a fair score. You’ll get reasonable offers on loans and lines of credit and pay slightly above average interest rates.

Is 800 a good credit score?

Yes, 800 is an excellent credit score. The credit score range only goes to 850, so you’re almost perfect. This means you’ll be eligible for some of the best terms on loans and lines of credit around.  In this range you will likely easily get offers for pre-qualified credit cards in the mail.

Other Credit Score Questions

This section covers other questions you might have about your credit score.

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How can I quickly raise my credit score?

The best way to quickly raise your credit score is to pay down your current credit card balance. Credit utilization makes up a large percentage of your credit score, second only to payment history, and is the one thing you can control on its own time.

How can I better my credit score?

Paying off your credit card balance is a great way to better your credit score. This lowers your credit utilization which has a huge effect on your credit score. This also makes it easier to get low interest credit card offers.

Michelle Brooks

Michelle Brooks

Financial Advisor - Best.CreditCard

Michelle is part of our expert team of financial advisors with a proven track record in the credit card industry. After graduating with an Economics Degree focusing on Personal Finance, she got involved with several credit and debt counseling startups.